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Scott Johnson

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August 14, 2013

Paper is for Origami, not Diabetes Logbooks

August 14, 2013 | By | 11 Comments

I think I speak for many people with diabetes (PWD’s) when I say that keeping a diabetes logbook is boring and full of work. So is brushing our teeth — yet we still do it! Why? Because there are benefits. Bright white teeth, less cavities, and a beautiful smile. Keeping a logbook is similar! There is a payoff!

Can’t analyze the data if there is no data…

The last time I went to my doctor empty handed I also left empty handed. He couldn’t make any adjustments to my diabetes management because I didn’t have any information to show him.

Am I going high after breakfast? I don’t know. Lows before bedtime? I don’t know. Waking up too high or low? I don’t know.

It was the theme of the appointment. I bet the ratio of “don’t knows” to “knows” was easily 10:1.

It was so frustrating, but also made total sense to me. What was I expecting him to do when I had not provided any information at all.

We had some averages from my devices and snippets of days here and there, but not the complete picture, or even part of a picture.

Finding the right diabetes logbook tool

With a renewed sense of purpose I knew I needed to find the right tool for capturing information. I’m often frustrated by paper logbooks for a few reasons:

  • there’s not enough room for what I want to write
  • it’s sloppy (my handwriting)
  • doesn’t hold up well in my pocket
  • I forget to bring it with me

To get around the formating issues (running out of space, testing more often than there are spots for, etc), I tried using a plain lined notepad. I even bought a fancy moleskine notebook.

Any guesses to what the problem was with logging without a structure or format? I couldn’t spot the patterns or pick out trouble areas in my day.

With mySugr Companion we intend to change all of that.

Patterns are super easy to spot, which makes my doctor happy, and the information is immediately useful to me, which is perhaps even more important.

With one quick glance I get a powerful overview of my day and week.

I can also search my records for any number of tags, keywords, or locations. Fredrik shared a great example of this recently when he appeared on DSMA Live.

“he told the story of ordering a meal where he wasn’t sure about his carb estimate. He searched for a similar meal in mySugr and found one from 1.5 years ago. He saw what he estimated, how much insulin he took, and what his blood sugars did afterward. From that record, he saw that he drastically underestimated the carbs last time, which left him running high after the meal. Being able to see this information so quickly and easily helped him adjust his insulin dose for this meal.”

Having the information readily available helped Fredrik make a better decision and avoid an afternoon of high blood sugars. Would I have been able to find that entry in a paper logbook (or another app) from years ago?

With my entries logged into companion I have a ton of great information for my doctor. My appointments become full of useful interaction and great feedback, starting with the PDF reports.

Benefits

We talked about the benefit of brushing our teeth, which has made brushing a habit for most of us (I hope). I think the benefits of logging we covered here sound better than minty fresh breath and a pearly white smile.

Let’s leave the paper for making origami.

And let’s have some fun! Leave a comment with the phrase “paper is for origami” and we’ll enter you into a drawing for a sweet origami kit!

Comments

  1. Erica C.

    I totally agree…paper is for origami

    • Scott Johnson

      W00t! Thanks, Erica!

  2. Pam K

    Paper is for origami fo shure!!

    • Scott Johnson

      Haha! Thanks for stopping by, Pam!

  3. I agree that paper is for origami. But some processes and IT systems in health care organizations still rely on prints. So I think it’s good that you can at least get well formatted PDF reports out of the electronic log books, at least for the time being.

    Just blogged about my experiences recently at http://blog.sensotrend.com/2013/08/it-needs-to-print-well.html

    • Scott Johnson

      Thanks, Mikael! Great post on your blog, too.

  4. Claire

    My son agrees heartily that paper is for origami. I have always struggled with paper logs, in my early days as a PWD, I’d take the stupid step of making up numbers just before my appointment. Dumb! Love the idea of referencing back to past results.

    • Scott Johnson

      Yep, I totally remember those days, Claire! :-)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Scott Johnson

    Alright guys! Let’s wrap this thing up!

    I used the super official random thing picker (http://andrew.hedges.name/experiments/random/pickone.html) and it spit out Erica’s name! Yay for Erica! I’ll be in touch shortly to get your prize sent to you!

    Thanks everyone! This was fun!

  6. I’m printing this out and taking it to my next endo appointment. It will sure spark an interesting discussion.

    • Scott Johnson

      Please let us know what your endo has to say, Khürt! We’d also love any feedback about making the reports more useful for everyone.

      Thanks!

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